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[1031b] [1] there will be other substances and entities and Ideas besides the ones which they describe; and prior to them, if essence is substance. And if they are separate from each other, there will be no knowledge of the Ideas, and the essences will not exist(by "being separate" I mean if neither the essence of good is present in the Ideal Good, nor "being good" in the essence of good); for it is when we know the essence of it that we have knowledge of a thing. And it is the same with other essences as with the essence of good; so that if the essence of good is not good, neither will the essence of being "be," nor the essence of one be one.Either all essences exist alike, or none of them; and so if not even the essence of being "is," neither will any other essence exist. Again that to which "essentially good" does not apply cannot be good. Hence "the good" must be one with the essence of good, "the beautiful" with the essence of beauty, and so with all terms which are not dependent upon something else, but self-subsistent and primary.1For it is enough if this is so, even if they are not Forms; or perhaps rather even if they are. (At the same time it is clear also that if the Ideas are such as some hold, the substrate will not be substance; for the Ideas must be substances, but not involving a substrate, because if they did involve one they would exist in virtue of its participation in them.)2

That each individual thing is one and the same with its essence, and not merely accidentally so, [20] is apparent, not only from the foregoing considerations, but because to have knowledge of the individual is to have knowledge of its essence; so that by setting out examples it is evident that both must be identical.But as for the accidental term, e.g. "cultured" or "white," since it has two meanings, it is not true to say that the term itself is the same as its essence; for both the accidental term and that of which it is an accident are "white," so that in one sense the essence and the term itself are the same, and in another they are not, because the essence is not the same as "the man" or "the white man," but it is the same as the affection.

The absurdity <of separating a thing from its essence> will be apparent also if one supplies a name for each essence; for then there will be another essence besides the original one, e.g. the essence of "horse" will have a further essence. Yet why should not some things be identified with their essence from the outset,3 if essence is substance? Indeed not only are the thing and its essence one, but their formula is the same,

1 The example of the Ideas as per se terms is used by Aristotle to show incidentally the fallacy of the Ideal theory: there can be no self-subsistent entity apart from the essence.

2 This criticism is irrelevant to the point under discussion. It simply points out that the Ideal theory conflicts with received opinion (cf. Aristot. Met. 7.3.1).

3 i.e. to avoid the infinite series implied in the last sentence.

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